Wednesday, June 5, 2013

No Summer Doldrums Here

Although you can still find the occasional Blackpoll Warbler or Alder Flycatcher well into June, migrant birds become quite hard to find after May 28 or so. Luckily, right around this time is when insect activity starts picking up.

Most of my efforts have been centred on odes (dragonflies and damselflies), but there are plenty of other cool things around.

This female Springtime Darner near Orillia was the first dragonfly I caught this year. Most of our darners don't emerge in numbers until the start of August, but this well-named species is often one of the first dragonflies flying. Thanks to Breanna Hall for holding on to it well my camera refused to cooperate (which is why it isn't against a natural background!)

The spreadwings are a group of damselflies that, like the darners, are more prominent later in the season. The lovely iridescent Emerald Spreadwing bucks the trend by emerging in June. This individual and everything else in this post were found at my patch, Erindale Park in Mississauga.

The most abundant June dragonfly at my patch is Twelve-spotted Skimmer. I've been flushing two or three recently emerged individuals with each step beside the pond. This species can be somewhat migratory and the single individual I saw on Pelee Island in May may have originated further south.

The odes have been fairly slow to emerge so far and I've only had 18 species, but this included my 100th species for Ontario - Skimming Bluet.

Silvery Blue is one of the common butterflies right now. The blurry plant in the background is Vetch, one of the common hosts for this species' caterpillars.

These Peck's Skippers were too preoccupied to care how close I got!

I came across this huge beetle, an Eyed Elater, beside some rotting logs. This is a species of click beetle and, although it is a bit blurry and there's a string in the way, I managed a video of this group's defense mechanism. It's hard to tell from the video, but the force generated is pretty incredible.

There is an enormous diversity of moths and as such nearly every species I come across is new to me. The small, boldy marked Common Spring Moth (creative name, eh?) is no exception.

I came across this gathering of American Toad tadpoles in a marshy backwater of the Credit River. I don't have a definite explanation but I'd guess that they were trying to avoid the silt washed into the river by recent rains.

It's the season where turtles are on the move to their nest sites and I noticed this big Snapping Turtle crossing the trail. 

Zoomed from a safe distance! 

I'll post soon about some unique bird nesting behaviour I found today - I'm still trying to figure out exactly how unique.

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